A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from April 17, 2005
Binghamton: Spiedie
The "spiedie" is an Endicott-Binghamton specialty, brought to the area by immigrants from Italy. The "spiedi" or "spiedie" (pronounced "speedy") began with cubes of lamb on skewers (spiedino, from which the name "spiedi" derives, or spiedo, meaning spit), but spiedies now might also be chicken, pork, veal, venison or beef.

Camillo Iacovelli (1896-1973) began selling spiedies at the Parkview Restaurant, 127 Oak Hill Avenue, Endicott, in 1936. "Spiedi" was cited in the Endicott (NY) Daily Bulletin on August 1, 1938, and in a Parkview Restaurant ad in the Binghamton (NY) Press on October 14, 1938.

The long list of the names of sandwiches served on long rolls includes blimpie, bomber, Cuban (medianoche), Dagwood, garibaldi, gondola, grinder, hero, hoagie, Italian, jawbreaker, muffuletta, peacemaker (La Mediatrice), pilgrim, pistolette, po' boy (poor boy), rocket, skyscraper, spucky (spuckie, spukie), submarine (sub), torpedo, torta (Mexican po' boy), wedge and zeppelin (zep).


Wikipedia: Spiedie
The spiedie (IPA: /spɪdɪ/) is a dish local to Greater Binghamton in the Southern Tier of New York State, and somewhat more broadly known and enjoyed throughout Central New York state. Spiedie consists of cubes of chicken and pork, but it may also be made from lamb, veal, venison or beef. The meat cubes are marinated overnight or longer (sometimes for as long as two weeks under a controlled environment) in a special spiedie marinade, then grilled carefully on spits (if steel skewers are used, they are called "spiedie irons") over a charcoal pit. The freshly prepared cubes are served on soft Italian bread or a submarine roll, skewer and all, then drizzled with fresh marinade. The roll is used as an oven glove to grip the meat while the skewer is removed. Spiedie meat cubes can also be eaten straight off the skewer or can be served in salads, stir fries, and a number of other dishes. The marinade recipe varies, usually involving olive oil, vinegar, and a variety of Italian spices and fresh mint.

Spiedie has been celebrated at the Spiedie Fest and Balloon Rally in Binghamton, New York, every August, since 1983. The annual event includes a spiedie cook-off in search of the best spiedie recipes. The spiedie and the Spiedie Fest were featured on an episode of The Food Network's "Unwrapped".

Commercial marinades are available regionally and can be ordered from various internet websites for shipment throughout the world.

History
The original idea for spiedie was brought by Italian immigrants to Upstate New York in the early 1920s. The specific origin of the spiedie is disputed. Two men – Agostino "Augie" Iacovelli and Peter Sharak – are credited with the creation of the spiedie.

Iacovelli, from Endicott, New York, began serving spiedie sandwiches in 1939 when he opened Augie's, his first restaurant. He emigrated from Abruzzo, Italy (Civitella Casanova) at the age of 25 in 1923. His son Guido continued in the spiedie business into the 1990s, owning as many as 26 restaurants at the peak of his career.

Sharak is also supposed to have invented spiedies. Apparently, patrons of Sharkey’s Bar and Grill were served lamb straight from the grill on its metal skewer with slices of bread. Sharkey's promotes itself as the birthplace of the sandwich in television commercials across the greater Binghamton area.

Though the issue is disputed, Sharkey’s began serving spiedies in 1947, which makes Iacovelli more likely to have invented the dish first.

Binghamton University -- Community Archaeology Program
In 1936, the listing showed a restaurant operated by Camillo Iacovelli. The business was called "Parkview Restaurant". Camillo was one of 2 or 3 restauranteurs that claim to have started making the famous Endicott Speedie sandwich. Speedies were inexpensive in the late 1930s.
(...)
He continued to operate a restaurant at that address until 1941 when he moved his business to the George F. Highway. At that location, the business was known as "Camillo's Spiedi Bar".

3 June 1937, Binghamton (NY) Press, pg. 37, col. 7 classified ad:
WAITRESS -- Parkview Restaurant, 127 Oak Hill Ave.

NYS Historic Newspapers
1 August 1938, Endicott (NY) Daily Bulletin, pg. 6, col. 6:
St. Anthony Club
Will Have Picnic

The annual public picnic of the St. Anthony of Padua club will be held Saturday and Sunday at the St. Anthony picnic grounds, it was announced today by Enrico Antonelli, president of the organization, Spiedi and clams will be served.

14 October 1938, Binghamton (NY) Press, pg. 18, col. 5 ad:
SPIEDI KING 10c
SPIEDI
Delicious Italian
BAR-B-Q-LAMB
Try One and You Will Come Back for More
PARKVIEW RESTAURANT
127 Oak Hill Ave.
Endicott

21 October 1938, Binghamton (NY) Press, pg. 30, col. 5 ad:
SPIEDI KING 10c
Meet Your Friends at
PARKVIEW RESTAURANT
127 Oak Hill Ave.
Endicott
Try Our Famous
"SPIEDI" Roast Lamb

28 October 1938, Binghamton (NY) Press, pg. 30, col. 7 ad:
DELICIOUS SPIEDE 10c
Halloween CELEBRATION
PARKVIEW RESTAURANT
127 Oak Hill Ave.
Endicott
Try Our Famous
"SPIEDE" Roast Lamb

15 December 1938, Binghamton (NY) Press, pg. 30, col. 6 ad:
CAMILLO
The SPIEDI King
EVERY NIGHT at the
Park View Restaurant
127 Oak Hill Avenue, Endicott, N. Y.
Italian Barbecue Lamb on Spit

NYS Historic Newspapers
4 October 1939, Endicott (NY) , pg. 12, col. 7:
NOTICE
NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that license number RLT1014 has been issued to the undersigned to sell liquor, wine and beer at retail in a restaurant under the Alcohol Beverage Control Law at 127 Oak Hill Ave., Endicott, broome County, New York, for on premise consumption.
CAMILLO SPIEDI GRILL
Camillo Jacovelli
127 Oak Hill Ave.
Endicott, N. Y.

9 February 1940, Binghamton (NY) Press, pg. 20, col. 4:
4th Anniversary
SPECIAL!! AT
CAMILLO'S Spiedi Grill
127 Oak Hill Ave., Endicott
Original Home of the Famous
10c - SPIEDI - 10c
(Italian Bar-B-Q- Lamb)
This Saturday and every Saturday of this month
FREE to Every Customer One Spiedi
Made Personally by CAMILLO (the Spiedi King)

NYS Historic Newspapers
10 February 1940, Endicott (NY) Daily Bulletin, pg. 7, col. 7 ad:
4th ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL
CAMILLO'S SPIEDI GRILL
(Similar ad to the above. -- ed.)

1943-1944, BINGHAMTON (NY) YELLOW PAGES, pg. 51, col. 1 ad:
CAMILLO'S SPIEDI BAR
SPIEDI - PIZZERIA
Italian Hot Pies
Spaghetti -- Cocktail Bar -- Dancing
All Endicott Busses Stop At Door
Geo F Highway Endicott...Endct-1486

1948-1949, BINGHAMTON (NY) YELLOW PAGES, pg. 125, col. 1:
NEAPOLITAN RESTAURANT & BAR
"TRY CONNIES FAMOUS"
HOT PIES & SPIEDI'S
(...)
423 Court...Bngtn 2-9876

1948-1949, BINGHAMTON (NY) YELLOW PAGES, pg. 126, col. 1:
S D S GRILL
Di Stefano Bowling Alleys
(...)
Spiedi & Pizza - Italian Hot Pies
224 Henry... Bngtn 2-9702

1949, BINGHAMTON (NY) YELLOW PAGES, pg. 126, col. 3:
METRUS TAVERN
ALL LEGAL BEVERAGES
SPIEDIES & HOT PIES
(...)
110 Clinton...Bngtn 2-9653

1953-1954, BINGHAMTON (NY) YELLOW PAGES, pg. 123, col. 3:
SCRATCHY'S HI-WAY TAVERN
WHEN YOU'RE ITCHIN FOR A DRINK
STOP AT SCRATCHY'S
SPEDIES - HOT PIES
(...)
Upr Court (On the old highway)...2-9790

3 August 1958, The Sunday Press (Binghamton, NY), pg. 8-B, col. 3:
How Spiedis Became an 'Endicott Special'
Marinated Lamb Cube:
A Local Picnic Favorite

By ELEANOR COLEMAN
Sunday Press Writer
IF YOU live in the Triple Cities, you've probably tasted spiedis, the spicy Italian version of cubed lamb on a skewer.
(...)
It all started back in 1920, when young Camillo Iacovelli sailed from his native Italy to seek his fortune in Endicott as a restaurateur. The following year he proposed by mail to his childhood sweetheart in Civitella, a village in Casanova in the province of Pasacara.

Young Josephine said "yes," and soon came to the States for her wedding -- bringing with her a cherished family recipe for spiedis: cubed, marinated, broiled lamb, served on long metal skewers. (Spiedi is the plural of spiedo, the Italian word for skewer. Americanized, you pronounce it 'speedy."
(...)
To the young couple, spiedis seemed a likely specialty when they finally opened their own business in Endicott 25 years ago.

7 December 1973, The Evening Press (Binghamton, NY), pg. 5-A, cols. 5-6:
Camillo Iacovelli Dies;
Brought 'Spiedi' to U.S.

By STEVE HAMBALEK
Funeral services will be tomorrow and Monday in Endicott for Camillo Iacovelli of 918 Douglas Dr., Endwell, a well-known retired restaurateur who died yesterday at Wilson Memorial Hospital. He was 77.

Iacovelli, a native of Italy, was generally credited as the man who introduced the "spiedi" to the U.S. during the depression of the 1930s in Endicott.

He started with the most modest of means, cooking the marinated pieces of skewered lamb over a charcoal fire in a small metal burner on the sidewalk in front of a tavern on the north side of Endicott.

EACH SKEWER held half a dozen chunks of lamb. When the meat was done, the customer wrapped a piece of Italian bread around the lowest piece, pulled upward to form a sandwich. The price was 10 cents a stick.

Iacovelli did so well in the business that in a few years he was able to build and operate his own restaurant; Camillo's on George F. Highway in Endwell.

He ran the restaurant, which featured spiedis, for about 35 years, until he retired and sold out in 1967.

5 August 2005, Press & Sun Bulletin (Binghamton, NY), "Who served first spiedie? Camillo or Augie? Iacovelli brothers considered local creators" by Ron Deuel, pg. 1, col. 2:
But was it Camillo Iacovelli or his younger brother, Agostino, who first served spiedies?
(...) (Col. 4. -- ed.)
A 1991 New York TImes article by Mike Moore, however, gives all credit to Agostino (Augie) and never even mentions Camillo.

"By 1939,' Moore wrote, "he opened Augie's Restaurant on the north side of Endicott."
(...) (Pg. 5A, col. 1. -- ed.)
Anthony Iacovelli, Agostino's son, says both men deserve the credit.

"Back in the 1930s," he said, "Camillo owned a restaurant called the Parkview Terrace on Endicott's North Side. My father (Augie) worked there. He was the one who prepared the spiedies and cooked them on the stove. They sold them for a dime a piece. It wasn't until later that my uncle (Camillo) opened Camillo's on George F. Highway and my father (Agostino) opeend Augie's."
Posted by Barry Popik
Nicknames of Other PlacesNew York State • Sunday, April 17, 2005 • Permalink